USask statement on vaccines - Fall 2021

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) continues to develop plans for the Fall 2021 term based on the latest available COVID-19 information in Saskatchewan, consultation with Public Health expertise, and the progress of provincial vaccination efforts.

Our university has made many difficult choices throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect the health of our campus community. As our plans for the fall term have unfolded, new variants have again shifted the landscape, with the Delta and other variants now driving a fourth COVID-19 wave. 

Over the past several weeks, our Pandemic Response and Recovery Team (PRT) has been closely monitoring the emerging risk of the Delta and other variants and the stalled and relatively low vaccination rates of those under 30 in Saskatchewan. We have also consulted with other institutions in Canada, with our faculty and students, and with legal and public health experts. Considering that USask welcomes upwards of 30,000 people daily onto our high-density campuses, we must once again be flexible to help protect all members of our USask and broader communities. 

Today I am therefore announcing stronger vaccination and health safety measures for the fall term. 

Before end of day Sept. 9, every member of the USask community—all students, faculty, and staff—will be required to show proof of at least one dose of a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved COVID-19 vaccine before coming onto campus. Proof of a second dose will be required by no later than Oct. 18.

Full details on how to provide proof of vaccination status will be announced soon. For those not yet vaccinated, COVID-19 vaccination bookings can be made on the Saskatoon campus at the Student Wellness Centre or throughout the province

Individuals who are unable or who are unwilling to get vaccinated will be required to provide regular and frequent negative COVID-19 test results and to submit a daily symptom checklist in order to access our campuses. Details on testing and other required protocols will be provided soon. These measures aim to minimize the health risks to all when on USask campuses.

Additionally, for those involved in higher-risk activities—including those living in residence and those involved in Huskie Athletics—vaccinations will be required for participation. Requests for exemption from this vaccination requirement will be considered in alignment with The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. We are currently reviewing other areas of programming that carry elevated COVID-19 transmission risks, and will update the campus community as those additional activities are identified. 

These new measures are endorsed by the university’s senior leadership and our Board of Governors. 

All current COVID-19 health and safety measures remain in place including indoor mask requirements, wastewater testing, some continued on-line programming, space reconfigurations in high-traffic areas, and enhanced cleaning.

The science is clear and overwhelming: vaccinations are the clearest path towards beating COVID-19 and its dangerous variants. Without these measures unvaccinated individuals on campus jeopardize their own health and the health of others, and will disrupt in-person classes and campus activities for everyone. Only widespread vaccination and testing throughout our campuses can help ensure our safety for the fall term and our goal of offering as full an in-person student experience as possible by January. 

COVID-19 has required our university to respond in ways we previously could not have imagined. Every response has been carefully considered to ensure the health and safety of our campus community and beyond. The pandemic has required us to be exceptionally flexible and responsive. I remain deeply appreciative of all that everyone at USask has done to help in those efforts. 

If you have any questions, please email covid19@usask.ca.

Peter Stoicheff
President and Vice-chancellor
University of Saskatchewan